VE and VJ Days 1945.
VE Day - A cause for national cellebration !
V E Day 8th May 1945
Although much attention is given to the celebrations in London following the announcement of the German surrender VE (Victory in Europe) Day was of course celebrated all over the country and RAF Cardington had a large part to play in the celebrations.
The daily records for May 8th tell us exactly what was happening on the day although in a very understated way!
“At 15.00 hours immediately after the announcement by the prime minister that the German forces had accepted unconditional surrender a Service of Thanksgiving was broadcast to the world from the Station Cinema. Detachments of RAF & WAAF from all units on the Station, a naval detachment consisting of 75 W.R.N.S. from the Naval Establishment at Woburn, and a detachment of 50 soldiers (from various regiments) from Kempston Barracks filled the cinema to full capacity. The service was taken by Dr Welch of the BBC. The singing was conducted by Leslie Woodgate, BBC. The Mayor & Mayoress of Bedford attended the Service."
As a result of the constant German air raids on London in the early stages of the war the BBC moved all staff away from the capital initially to Bristol but later decamped to Bedford and was to remain there for the duration of the war. All music programmes for these years were recorded in Bedford and many famous orchestras and musicians took part in these productions. Pictured right, renowned composer and chorus master Leslie Woodgate who conducted the singing at the VE celebrations at Cardington.The celebrations continued at the camp on the next day as follows: "Evening - 09.05.1945 A Victory Ball was held in The Arcade which was attended by about 4,500 people. Comic sports were held on the cricket ground and in the evening the Sergeants Mess gave a dance in the gymnasium. On the nights of VE Day and VE Day plus one, the Station Headquarters Building was floodlit and the Met Tower was decorated with Fairy Lights."
V J Day 15th August 1945.
Celebrations were recorded in the daily records (O.R.Bs) shown above. They read as follows:
"15.08.1945 V. J. DAY. A dance was held in the evening on the Station Gymnasium. Station Headquarters Building, The Gymnasium and the Guardroom were all floodlit. And the Met Tower and Guardroom Building were picked out in fairy lights.
16.08.1945 V.J. DAY PLUS ONE. Comic sports were held in the Gymnasium which were well attended, and in the evening the Sergeant’s Mess gave a V.J. dance in the Gymnasium."
Website compiled by Jane Harvey. February 2022.